Speech team novices gain momentum, experience with win
The Concordia speech team novice speakers competed in the Novice No More Invitational April 17, open to first-year college speech competitors from 21 schools. With 11 students competing, Concordia won the team sweepstakes with more than double the points of the second-place team.
“It was fantastic to see such a strong showing from our first-year competitors,” Joe Davis, director of forensics, said. “Our team has a system that allows freshmen the flexibility to adapt to college life and college speech at a reasonable pace, so this end-of-the-year novice tournament was perfect for our students who are new to forensics. “I was proud to see representation in so many events and I’m excited about what this class can do for our program.”
Of the 11 Concordia speakers, each one finished fourth or better in their respective events. Micah Schultz, a junior from Scotia, New York, was first in After Dinner Speaking.
“My first year of college speech has been great,” Schultz said. “Even though I missed out on live competitions, the atmosphere on the team has been super supportive and made competing something I looked forward to.”
Thomas Welch, a freshman from Jefferson City, Missouri, and Kalina Vavra, a freshman from Norfolk, Nebraska, earned first in Duo Interpretation. Tristin Kinderknecht, a freshman from Salina, Kansas, was first in Impromptu and second in Extemporaneous Speaking. Gwen Gaunt, a freshman from Hastings, Nebraska, was first in Program Oral Interpretation. Throughout the speech season, Gaunt said she has seen the impact participating in speech can have.
“Speech is about expression and connection, and in the midst of a pandemic that isolates and divides, it’s just as essential as ever to still have the ability to compete,” Gaunt said. “This year, I saw how powerful and valuable speech can be at the individual level, and also for our team as a whole, as people rose to meet extraordinary challenges and proved that their words and messages were even more powerful.”
Madi Kurtz, a sophomore from Nashville, Illinois, finished second in communication analysis. Daisy Cody, a freshman from Alamosa, Colorado, finished third in After Dinner Speaking, while Abby van Velson, a sophomore from Broken Bow, Nebraska, was third in Dramatic Interpretation.
“I love the community that we have built within our team,” van Velson said. “Everyone is really nice and team events really show how we are able to have that despite having to keep our physical distance. We are a very goal-oriented team, and I appreciate that we have a variety of so many different majors.”
Victoria Race, a sophomore from Holyoke, Colorado, finished third in Informational Speaking, while Victoria Perry, a sophomore, from Shelby, Nebraska, was third in Program Oral Interpretation. Alex Vieselmeyer, a freshman from Amherst, Colorado, was fourth in both Extemporaneous Speaking and Informative Speaking.
“I am most looking forward to what our team will do next,” Race said. “I can’t wait to hear all the amazing ideas and concepts my teammates have. I’m also excited to be a bigger part of the team as I compete more.”